There was a time - circa 2007/2008 -- when many people were skeptical of vertical social and professional networks. I know all too well as Vator was launched around that time as a social network for entrepreneurs, which had many people scratching their heads, thinking it was a very "niche" idea. But these days, it’s clear that there can be such networks, because of the different value and transparency they provide to the people within those networks.
Doximity is a network for physicians, who have their own profiles, much like LinkedIn for professionals, and Vator (for entrepreneurs and investors). It now has 220,000 (revealed today) doctors, which is one third of all the doctors in the US. Essentially, it’s a platform that helps physicians communicate with one another on a secured messaging platform to quickly make decisions about their patients.
Jeff Tangney, CEO and founder of Doximity, says miscommunication is the "5th leading cause of death." Traditionally, doctors communicate to one another via fax or phone, since those are communications platforms that are compliant with HiPAA (U.S. Deparment of Health and Human Services), which require all information about patients to be communicated on a secure network. Text and email don't qualify as secure as information can be readily shared and therefore threatens the privacy of the patient.
But by relying on faxes, doctors spend precious time waiting for the right information before making decisions. And sometimes, they don't have that time.
I asked Tangney (after the interview), how often doctors need to consult with other doctors before making their own prognosis or how often doctors receive new patients. I'll update once I get those answers.
Regardless of how often doctors need to communicate with other physicians in a timely fashion, we are in an era when immediate response is expected. And not being able to get that information in the palm of your hands when you need it, in an email, does seem like a lifetime, even for me.
The question is: Would doctors pay for that immediate communication? For Doximity, the answer is no. Doctors aren't charged for the service. That's where monetization in a different form needs to kick in. For Doximity, it's matching doctors with jobs. With the new Talent Finder service, announced today, organizations seeking doctors can tap into Doximity's community. As of today, the service has 200 customers, such as Kaiser Permanente, Cedars-Sinai, Ohio State University, and One Medica Group. The customers pay $12,000 per seat, per year. That seat allows companies to send 30 messages a month to prospective doctors. Each customer pays, on average, for two seats, said Tangney.
So how's the service doing? Since testing it in beta, the customers have offered 70,000 jobs. While Tangney says it's hard to measure how many have been placed through their connections, about 26% of the job postings were responded to.
Now Doximity considers itself the LinkedIn for doctors. But there is already a LinkedIn for doctors. It's called LinkedIn. To that end, the question is: How does Doximity compete with LinkedIn? Tangney says Doximity has far more information about physicians and it also has more of them. To this end, hospitals trying to find doctors will be fishing in a much more efficient and targeted pond.
Watch my interview with Tangney and learn more about others in the space - Vitals, ZocDoc, which has raised nearly $100 million in venture funding, and Practice Fusion, which has raised about $150 million - that may or may not compete with Doximity.
But you'll also hear about how Tangney, a successful entrepreneurs who founded Epocrates, which went public in 2009, built up the Doximity marketplace. It's not easy getting one third of physicians on a platform. What were some of the ways Doximity did that? You'll have to watch the interview to find out.